Saturday, January 11, 2014

You Have Done Enough Damage. Time for Wayne Watson to Resign or be Terminated. Time for His Crony Administrators to Be Swept Out.

Although this comes from Wikipedia, I think it is a fairly accurate depiction of circumstances as they exist at Chicago State:

“Cronyism exists when the appointer and the beneficiary are in social contact; often, the appointer is inadequate to hold his or her own job or position of authority, and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him or her, or express views contrary to those of the appointer.”

It is past time for Wayne Watson, Angela Henderson, Cheri Sidney and Tyra Austin (at a minimum, this is not an exhaustive list) to resign or be discharged from their lucrative, and undeserved, positions. Chicago State is a doctoral degree granting state university. The overwhelming majority of faculty at this institution hold the Ph.D. and most (at least in my college) are actively involved in research and writing. Since 2009 we have been saddled with “leadership” that has done grievous damage to the university. That must change if we are ever to have a viable institution.

There are a number of reasons for my assertions. First, neither of the top two administrators, Watson or Henderson, are even tenurable at this school. Neither has any publications or significant teaching experience to their credit. They are career administrators, moved along in bureaucratic systems for unfathomable reasons and damaging the institutions they purportedly lead. Their advancement seems reminiscent of a job applicant having a letter from the “right” alderman. While they gain accolades from political allies, friends and friends of friends, substantive problems at the schools they govern fester and eventually erupt into scandal, partly because they hire a number of persons for key administrative posts at generous salaries despite non-existent or even fraudulent credentials.

Second, as I have said repeatedly in this and other venues, measured by quantitative standards the performance of this administration has been disastrous. No need to rehash the enrollment declines that have occurred at Chicago State in the past four years, as the persons charged with increasing the university’s enrollment continue to demonstrate their inability to stop the bleeding. As of yesterday, our enrollment for Spring 2014 stood at 1200 fewer students than the enrollment for Spring 2013. The university at this point has around 4500 students enrolled, down from 5701 in the Fall. How long can we sustain these kinds of losses? How long must we suffer under this kind of incompetent leadership?

Third, the corruption and scandals at the top of the university cannot be obscured by fawning press releases from university mouthpieces, glitzy awards, celebrity appearances on campus, community outreach, or trips to Washington, D.C., and New York City. At least three of our top administrators assuredly lied on their applications and/or resumes, two claiming degrees they did not have. This is an offense that demands termination, yet none of the three have been fired. In fact, two have been promoted and been granted lavish raises. Why? Based on their woeful performance in key administrative positions, their advancement can hardly be merit-based.

Fourth, the continued presence in top management positions of administrators who have lied on their applications/resumes corrodes the academic mission of the university. The Chicago State Human Resources Manual claims that “the University expects all employees to act with integrity at all times,” and cites “falsification of employment application, official academic transcripts, degrees or other records” as actions that demonstrate a “lack of integrity.” The continued employment of Henderson, Austin and Sidney renders impotent the university’s stated policy on falsification of official records and makes a mockery of its claims to protect institutional integrity. Unfortunately, I can say with authority that these lies are only part of the story. We have not yet reached the bottom of this cesspool of dishonesty.

The presence of these unqualified individuals (especially the president) will undoubtedly expose the university to further embarrassment. The question is how much humiliation will be necessary for persons like the members of the Chicago State Board of Trustees to finally decide that enough is enough? Up to this point, their tolerance for bad management and administrative missteps has seemed endless, we will see if that continues. It seems doubtful that any of the persons benefiting materially from their sinecures will suddenly experience an epiphany of conscience and resign on their own. They are going to have to be removed. The Board must act now before the university is damaged beyond repair.

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